God loves His enemies.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (NIV)
Do you have any enemies? Most of us have experienced someone at some point that has put forth great effort to ruin us, our family, or at least our day.
God commands us to love our enemies, and, in this passage, we are reminded we were once the enemies of God. As believers, we put forth the effort to please God by living love to neighbor and enemy. But before Christ, it was different.
It’s hard to imagine we were ever the enemies of God. However, sin is an assault on love and God. We might say that sin is the absence of love, but even that doesn’t go far enough. Sin is not neutral. Sin goes on the offense to produce harm. The hard part about sin is that we usually don’t do it with the intention of harming ourselves or others, so we never see ourselves as enemies to God.
Even though we may not intend to hurt anyone, God has written a sense of right and wrong in the heart of every man. We know when we sin because it feels wrong. We may not think it will hurt anyone, but we do know it is wrong. Yet, we continue in it. It’s not our intention, but we are working against love and God because He is love.
Even if someone doesn’t realize the full gamut of the injury inflicted but continues to do things that sabotage you at work, actively hurt your children, and try to ruin your reputation, there is enmity present. This is what we did to God. We were actively hurting His precious children. The inadvertent wounds we caused made it harder for people to find God. Like locking children in a closet, we darkened the lives of those God loves dearly with our selfishness and pride. Yet, while we were continuing in our sin, God loved us so much that He gave His Son to take the punishment we deserved. If He did this while we were enemies, what kindness we shall see as His ally.
God defines loving our enemies as more than the restraint of not reciprocating their attacks. Loving our enemies is desiring and working toward reconciliation as much as they will allow.
Prayer: This is such a high bar. Fill me with more of You that I might also love my enemies as You do that even my enemies would see my willingness to reconcile. Amen.